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Nazi invasion monument to be erected in Budapest

January 4th, 2014

Left-wing commentators echo the misgivings expressed by opposition politicians about the government’s plan to erect a monument commemorating the invasion of Hungary by Nazi Germany in 1944. The statue is due to be unveiled on the 70th anniversary, i.e. March 19th, on Szabadság (Freedom) square, in front of the monument to Soviet soldiers. Left-wing politicians have criticised the hasty decision and expressed fears that the monument will implicitly whitewash the role of those Hungarians who collaborated with the Nazis.
In Népszava, Jenő Veress thinks the government intends to erect a “counterweight” to the Soviet memorial column and declare that the Nazis alone were guilty of what happened, while the Horthy regime was not. He also believes the planned statue is deliberately meant to contradict the idea behind the government’s own Holocaust memorial year. Finally, Veress fears that the monument will become a meeting point for admirers of the Nazis. “It will be an altar to hell,” he writes.

Népszabadság describes the project as a cynical move, whereby the government can reject the far-right demand to tear down the Soviet monument, while reframing it by coupling it with the planned memorial to German occupation. A cunning way of “having their cake and eating it”, Népszabadság writes in its front page editorial.

In Heti Világgazdaság, László Seres calls the planned monument “a completely superfluous statue”. He remarks that it is “equally rejected by Nazis and anti-Nazis”, with far right websites claiming that it will be “another Jewish memorial”, while “paranoid anti-Nazis” believe it is an encouragement to right-wing extremists “to do whatever they wish against the Jews.” Seres also disagrees with a statement by a left-wing anti-Nazi group which accuses the government of “supporting the Nazis”, and sarcastically dismisses as “a stroke of genius” the appeal by the Council of Jewish Religious Communities “to promote social reconciliation instead of erecting a monument”. In his ironic closing remark, Seres suggests that the future statue will be a monument “to the servile attitude of sometimes zealous, sometimes unprincipled Hungarian collaborators”.

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